Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Post #107 - Autograph Appreciation: Frank Klopas

Continuing the Autograph Appreciation series today with my third of five soccer signatures. Since we just moved into our new place in Indiana, and I don't have wifi or the scanner hooked up yet (I'm actually typing this at my parent's just 20 minutes up the road) I figured this was as good of a time as any to get another AA post up, as I already had this card scanned. So, who's our subject today?

Another card just like Chris Henderson (my last AA post) that I don't have records of when I sent it and/or received it back. But that's a small detail that doesn't apply much here. Let's take a look at the life and career of Frank Klopas, shall we?

Fotios Klopas was born September 1, 1966 in Prosymna, Greece. Moving to the States at the age of 8, Klopas received his U.S. citizenship upon his 18th birthday. Attending Mather High School in Chicago, Klopas left a mark leading Mather to the Chicago Public League championship as a senior. Skipping college, Klopas signed with the Chicago Sting of the NASL, but an injury led to him missing the team's season.

Beginning the next season, in 1983, Klopas played for the Sting in the indoor MISL. He would make 140 appearances up to 1988, scoring 62 goals and being named as a second team All-Star during the 1986-87 season. Leaving Chicago to go back to Europe, Klopas would spend 1988-1994 playing for the Greek team AEK Athens FC, appearing in 49 matches and netting 6 goals.

After tearing his ACL in 1991 and dealing with infections after, Klopas was limited for two seasons. In 1992, Frank signed a contract with the United States Soccer Federation, but would return to Greece following the 1994 World Cup, latching on with Apollon Athens until 1996 (10 games, 0 goals).

When Major League Soccer came calling in 1996, Klopas answered and was assigned to the Kansas City Wizards, scoring 7 goals in 54 appearances with the team in two seasons. After being traded to the Columbus Crew, the Crew immediately swapped him to the Chicago Fire (before Klopas played a single minute in the Yellow and Black). The Fire was on the beneficial end of this deal, as Frank helped the Fire win the MLS Cup and the U.S. Open Cup in 1998; Klopas was the scorer of the Golden Goal against the Crew in the Open Cup Final, giving the Fire a 2-1 victory in overtime. He would retire from professional soccer following the 1999 season. In 2004 he was selected into Chicago's "Ring of Fire" and in 2005, became a member of the Illinois Soccer Hall of Fame.

Klopas had a career with the U.S. National Team spanning from 1988-1995, in which he appeared in 39 matches and amassed 12 goals. Despite a solid career, Klopas did not appear in the 1994 U.S. World Cup run (which is the World Cup the card set shown above was produced for), amid a fair amount of controversy.

After retirement, the Fire hired Klopas as their Strength and Conditioning coach, where he remained for one season (2000). After a few years off, Klopas was named the head coach/GM of the MISL's expansion franchise, the Chicago Storm. Despite leading the team to a playoff berth in 2006, Klopas resigned after the season. Rejoining the Fire in 2008 as their first Technical Director, Klopas took over the managerial role in May 2011, remaining in the position until 2013. Finally, his soccer roller coaster took him to Montreal, where he was the head coach of the Montreal Impact until 2015. He currently lives in Chicago, with his wife Sophia.

If I had to guess, I would say that I got this card signed by Mr. Klopas sometime during his tenure at the Fire head coach, although it was before I kept records and really have no way of telling for sure. Regardless, it's a great card to have in my collection, especially of someone who has such a legacy in the Chicago market (where I'm not far from).

Hopefully you enjoyed this stroll through the history of Frank Klopas. As I mentioned at the beginning, this was my third of five soccer autographs to cover in this series, before we start on NASCAR (unless anyone has any soccer autographs they want to swap; I'm always willing to trade for signature cards!). My last autograph post about Chris Henderson ended up with over 200 views, one of my highest totals so far, so either people are enjoying reading these or Blogger has a few issues! Thanks for reading, and have a safe and happy Fourth of July!


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Post #106 - A Surprise from the Cigar Lounge

It has been detailed time and time again on the blogs just how generous other collectors are. I've been on the receiving end of generous packages multiple times, and try my best to be the same way in return. But at the end of the day, no matter how generous we know others to be, surprises can still arrive.

Take this morning, for example. Since I am currently working from home, and the mail arrives around 10:00 AM every day, I like to take a break at 10:30, let the dog out, and stretch my legs while getting the mail. Even when I'm not expecting something, it helps me to loosen up and rest my brain for five minutes.

Today when I opened the box, I was greeted by the weekly newspaper ads, and a small envelope with a return address of the C2Cigars Club.

For those of you who are frequent visitors to the Trading Card Database, you know who C2Cigars is. For those who are not, Chuck is one of the most helpful, generous, and knowledgeable members on the site. My interactions with C2C have been limited to the forums, so finding this envelope in my mailbox was interesting. He must have gotten my address from someone else on the site; no matter, let's see what was inside!

We start off with a Hal Morris card that isn't quite from the "junk wax" era (term used subjectively) but is still a definite part of the overproduction era. But hey, who cares? It's a need!

Side note. I call this a need even though I only have a small portion of my collection with me at this time, hence the lack of a Reds wantlist. However, I've never seen this card before, so I know that when I do someday get everything documented, this will still be my only copy.

These two Barry Larkin cards are welcome additions, especially the blue-bordered Collector's Choice SE. I've always had a soft spot for UDCC, and those SE cards are no different.

This Paul O'Neill card from the 1992 Topps Kids set is another shining example of those goofy, child-like, cartoonish sets from the early 1990s that I want to build, such as Upper Deck Fun Pack and Donruss Triple Play. For now, though, this O'Neill can go into the Reds box.

Completing the quintuplet of 1990s cards in the envelope was this 1993 Pacific Spanish card of Jacob Brumfield. I believe Colbey from Cardboard Collections broke a box of this a few weeks back, but I missed out on the break; at least I didn't miss out on the Brumfield thanks to C2C!

You'll notice I keep referring to the "1990s cards" and "the overproduction era". That's because the package contained oh so much more.

No, that's not a card from last year's Heritage with a no-name Reds minor leaguer on it. That's a bonafide 1968 Topps card of longtime backup catcher Don Pavletich.

But wait! There's more!

Maybe the burlap design isn't your cup of tea...

Then perhaps stepping back a year and basking in this glorious 1967 Topps Jim Maloney is more your speed. What's not to like about this card? The black vest sleeve trim, the fans in the background, the vintageness, if you will. Delightful.

Dare I say "but wait, there's more!" again? Because there is.

A 1966 Chico Ruiz, anyone? Those beautiful uniforms (with black accents that worked, not that ugliness from the early 2000s) and a confident smirk from Mr. Ruiz show us that clearly, C2Cigars is a world-class fella. And just to drive that point home, here's one more fun piece of cardboard that I'll be hoarding for a long time...

This 1961 Topps Jerry Lynch is now the oldest card in my collection. I have to add at this point that all of these cards were in excellent shape. Not so amazing for the cards that are from the 1990s, but for this card to be 57 years old and be in better shape than some cards that fall out of packs today is amazing.

Chuck, thank you so so much for an excellent package. I'm not sure if I can round up anything off of your wantlists, and I doubt it would be anything close to what you sent my way, but I'll give it my best shot. This envelope sure brightened up a dreary rainy day!

One last housekeeping note before I sign off for the evening. On Saturday, I will be moving from Missouri to Indiana. Not a big deal, one UHaul trip and it's over with, but if you're like me and you save addresses for trading purposes, get ahold of me for my new one. Of course, if you have the Michigan address that I used to use, that's my parents and would still work just fine.

Thank you for reading, and have a great Tuesday evening!


Sunday, June 24, 2018

Post #105 - Top 9: Buster Posey

The number nine and baseball have always had a strong connection with me. My dad wore #9 in college. I wore it growing up all the way through little league, high school, and American Legion ball before losing it when I got to college. However, after my first school shut down and I transferred, I ended up wearing it again for my senior season.

There are nine men in a lineup and nine on a baseball field. It takes nine innings. Nine strikes to strike out the side. The number nine and the game of baseball are inexplicably linked. And with my connections to my lucky number, I'm really excited for this post!

Daniel from the blog It's Like Having My Own Cardshop is running a contest to celebrate his ninth anniversary. All you have to do is write a post detailing 9 cards. Since his showed off his 9 favorite Paul Goldschmidt cards, I decided to stick with the NL West and do a brief rundown of my nine favorite Buster Posey cards at this moment.

I have 108 Posey cards in my collection, so this isn't an impossible task, but it also isn't the easiest in the world.

#9: 2013 Topps Archives - Mini Tall Boys #MT-BP

Generally, I'm not a fan of minis. But I am a fan of retro-designed cards that use the mini size thing to make them unique. Thus, this one makes the countdown.

#8: 2017 Topps Chrome - 1987 Topps Baseball

I'm actually really surprised at myself that this one didn't land higher on the list. I've always been a sucker for the 1987 Topps design, but ultimately the chrome effect put this card on the list, but also held it back a few spots.

#7: 2017 Topps Heritage - Chrome #THC475

Another design that I'm a big fan of is the burlap from last year's Heritage (and 1968 of course). Just like the card above, the puppy is held up a bit by the chrome factor, but it does receive some aid in being numbered to 999 (not the rarest of the rare, but enough for me to be thrilled when Robert of $30 A Week sent it to me last year).

#6: 2017 Topps Chrome - Pink Refractor #145

My favorite card of 2017 checks in at #6 on this list, for a few reasons. This card in hand is absolutely stunning, and shimmers like no other. And the photography actually isn't bad at all. Negative points for the 2017 Topps design (overall not a fan) and for this being one of the endless, mind-numbing parallels Topps produces for every set. Regardless, a nice baseball card for this day and age.

#5: 2013 Topps Chrome - Orange Refractors #200

Starting to see a pattern with the shiny stuff here? I complain about Topps throwing out a gazillion parallels and yet when I end up with them, I'm thrilled. Another example here; taking away the 2013 Topps white border and making it orange works really well with a Giants card, and that's probably why this one pops at me so much.

#4: 2013 Bowman Platinum - Best Bowman Players of All Time Blue Sapphire Refractors #BDPP128

Wow. That's a mouthful. This reproduction of Posey's 2010 Bowman rookie card has been in my collection for quite a while, and has always been one of my favorites. If nothing else, it makes me feel like I've got the real thing (which I doubt I ever will).

#3: 2012 Bowman Platinum -  Emerald #57

Shiny. Parallel. Boy, I sound like a boring hypocrite here, don't I? But I actually love this shot of Posey; not often do we get to see a catcher making a play behind the plate with his mask off; generally if we do it's a generic shot of them standing up to throw. Photography on this is an A+ for me, and throwing in the green background (it looks better in hand) is another winner.

#2: 2008 TriStar Prospects Plus #5

While this scan is pretty poor, this is the only Posey rookie or pre-rookie card to make my countdown. Mainly because his 2010 Topps and Upper Deck cards just aren't doing it for me. But this one, however generic it might be, is intriguing. I like the design around the border for a one-off (please, Topps, don't do Flagship like that; leave this for minor league sets) but what really strikes my interest is the hat Posey is wearing. Never a Giants fan, I've searched for one of those 2000s BP hats with the "G" logo for years with no luck. It's rare to see photos of it worn (except for Willie Mays) so seeing it on a card of your favorite player as a pre-rookie is awesome.

#1: 2015 Bowman Chrome - Green Refractors #100

Prepare to be confused: I hate this Bowman design. It does nothing for me, and my pet peeve of baseball cards is the name placement seen here (sideways on a vertical card). 


When you pick up a colored parallel of a Chrome set that you've never seen in person before, at your first card show in 10 years, and it's numbered to 99 copies, and you get it for a buck? 

Yeah. Favorite if for no other reason than that.

I encourage everyone else to get in on Daniel's contest while it's still open, and tell me in the comments what you think. Does this list make sense to you? Would you re-order it? Is there a card you think I need to track down that will immediately find it's way on to this countdown? What's the top 9 in your player collection? 

As always, thanks for reading!


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Post #104 - Padding A PC

Something I've noticed over the last year or so of being a member of the blogging community is how we all trade differently. Some prefer PWE; others will only ship bubble mailer. Many won't trade a single card that isn't worth the price of the stamp used to send it, while others will gladly trade an envelope full of goodies for a single 1990 Donruss card (okay, that might be a bit of a stretch).

I, like everyone else, have my own preferred style of trading. I love throwing together a nice bubble mailer of stuff for someone. Heck, I don't even consider it trading in that sense. Nothing better than combing through someone's wantlist and specifically knocking off 10-15 cards.

When trading on the Database, I keep a small 400 count box nearly full of cards I'm willing to part with. I still don't have it fully loaded. When trading with other bloggers, I go through boxes upon boxes in my collection. If I limited it to only that 400 count box, I'd have few trading partners.

If I hash out a trade, it's usually at the TCDB, and it's generally a 1-for-1 or 2-for-2 PWE trade. Such was the case with the transaction I posted to Mark (username madams30) last week. Mark had a nice stack of Matt Mantei cards that would look great in my PC. Unfortunately, I only had one card off of his wantlist: a 1998 Topps Jeff Fassero.

So, I picked a single one of the Mantei cards and offered it in exchange for the Fassero. By the next day, however, Mark came back with a completely different offer. He was willing to send all six Mantei cards from my wantlist, and in return he only wanted the Fassero, and a pair of other cards he plucked from my list (a 2009 DiMaggio and 2013 Jose Fernandez),

As you might imagine, I was game.

This 2000 Pacific Paramount Ruby parallel was the initial card I asked about when proposing the 1-for-1 deal. While all six were needs, I felt that this was one that I wouldn't be seeing pop up for trade too often.

The Paramount base card was also included in this deal, and while that sounds exciting, I still have an animal of a rainbow to chase down in this set, including the Copper, Gold, Green, Holographic Gold (/199), Holographic Green (/99), Holographic Silver (/99), Platinum Blue (/67), and Premiere Date (/50). At least there aren't any 1/1s, right?

Speaking of parallels, 2000 Upper Deck MVP doesn't have a ton, but low numbers (Gold Script /50 and Super Script /25) could make that a pain at some point.

Stepping back in time a bit, I can't believe I didn't already have this 1999 Fleer Tradition. And since I've started going the way of the parallel with this post already, let's see how this "rainbow" will work out:

Millennium: PR5000
Starting 9
Warning Track

Okay, I think I might be able to pull that one off.

As is obvious with this 1999 Metal Universe scan, I still struggle with shiny/flashy cards. While at first glance this parallel run looks easy (Gem Masters and Precious Metal Gems, both unnumbered on my wantlist) I have my doubts. You see, I base my wantlists on the TCDB. And just because TCDB doesn't list a SN doesn't mean there isn't one. Translation? I'm thinking one or both of those two parallels mentioned above will be a pain in the behind to find

Finally, we wrap up this package with the above 1999 Skybox Premium card. As far as parallels go, this card only has one (that's the good news), the Star Ruby parallel numbered to 50 copies (that's the bad news).

But hey, regardless of what parallels are still out there to chase, this was a great package to open up and another successful TCDB trade. Mark, if you're reading this, thanks for the trade, and enjoy your portion!

If you want to help me bolster my Mantei PC, you can see my wantlist here. And even if not, I sincerely thank you for reading, and have a great Tuesday evening!


Monday, June 11, 2018

Post #103 - Rocketing In

Going to be brief this evening, as it was just a one card day around here. I've been sparse with my postings lately, but I just haven't had much incoming or outgoing. That certainly isn't helped by the fact that I haven't had time to send anything out, although I'm getting close to finishing up at least one package for a fellow blogger.

Today's card comes from TCDB member tsch67 and inches me yet one more closer to my 1988 Fleer set build:

Card number 4 of 12 from the All-Star insert set is Roger Clemens. When's the last time you saw a position designation on a baseball card say "RH Pitcher"?

Thrilled to add this one into it's proper slot in the book. Here's a look at the back just for funsies:

Of course Fleer points out immediately that Clemens missed out on Spring Training in 1987 before giving an entire season run down.

Thanks for the trade Tom! Yours should be arriving today!

You can find an updated wantlist for this set here.

Also, one final note before I wrap things up. I'm going to make a conscious effort to reply to reader comments on my posts from here on out, as I've done a very poor job at doing so thus far. So if you felt that I slighted you in the past, I deeply apologize and will be attempting to do a better job at responding from here on out.

As always, thanks for reading!


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Post #102 - Autograph Appreciation: Chris Henderson

It's been a little while since I did an Autograph Appreciation post, so why not throw up another soccer autograph? You can view the first part of the soccer portion of Autograph Appreciation here. Today is part two of five of the soccer portion:

Chris Henderson signed this 1994 Upper Deck World Cup card for me well before I ever kept records of successes and failures. I used to have a ton of these from multiple countries, but as I was never a huge soccer fan, most names I didn't recognize. Chris also answered a handful of questions for me with this request, but unfortunately that sheet of paper has been lost to the march of time and is no longer in my possession. Oh well; let's take a dive into the life of Chris Henderson, shall we?

Born December 11, 1970 (hey, one day after me! Albeit 24 years earlier) in Edmonds, Washington, Henderson would attend Cascade High School in Everett, Washington. He played one single season of soccer for the Seattle Storm of the Western Soccer League before enrolling at UCLA. In his two years at UCLA, he helped lead the Bruins to a national championship in his sophomore season. He was inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016.

After graduation, Henderson spent two seasons overseas (playing for the German team FSV Frankfurt and the Norwegian club Stabæk) before returning to the MLS as a member of the Colorado Rapids. He would go from rookie upstart to team MVP, appearing in 87 matches and scoring 12 goals for the Rapids from 1996-1998. His professional career continued with the Kansas City Wizards from 1999-2000, scoring 12 goals in only 67 appearances.

The 1990s were kind to Henderson when it came to the U.S. National Team as well. While in college, Henderson made his first National Team appearance, and was a member of the 1990 World Cup team (although he did not appear in a game), the 1992 Summer Olympics team, the 1994 World Cup team (again without an appearance), and the 1998 World Cup qualifying roster (although he did not make the final Cup roster). 

After a single season playing for the Miami Fusion (2001), before being picked back up by the Rapids at the end of the season (the final season for the Fusion). His time with Colorado ended in 2005, but not before he became the Rapids all-time leader in games played (178), assists (53), and points (120). He also wrapped up his U.S. National Team career in this time period, seeing his last action in 2001. Henderson only scored three goals for the USMNT over his 79 appearances.

In May of 2005, Henderson was traded to the Columbus Crew (two goals in 21 appearances), before being traded to the Metro Stars (they became the New York Red Bulls soon after) at the end of the season. While only scoring three goals in his final season, Henderson made 32 appearances, which officially made him the MLS all-time leader in appearances (a record he no longer holds). On December 22, 2006, Chris Henderson announced his retirement as a professional soccer player.

Henderson would spend the 2007 MLS season as an assistant coach with the Kansas City Wizards before being hired by the Seattle Sounders as a technical director. Still with the Sounders, Henderson now holds the title of VP of Soccer and Sporting Director. Chris lives in Washington and is married with four children.

That wraps up this look at Chris Henderson, former major league soccer star and U.S. National Team Member. I've stated many times, but I really enjoy posts like these as it allows me to do some research and hone my writing skills. Hopefully everyone else found this somewhat enjoyable as well. Thanks for reading!

P.S. The Daily Dimwit is back to blogging and is holding an awesome giveaway. Details here.


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Post #101 - My COMC Spring Cleaning Haul

If the name of my blog is to be believed, if you are to suppose me as a true hoarder of trading cards, then yes, my participation in the COMC Spring Cleaning event makes sense. After all, I should be depleting the hoard, should I not?

Nope. I participated from the other side, the buying side. I didn't even mean to, honestly. But an eBay search led me to this card:

eBay told me that COMC's price on this puppy was around $3.00. Plus $3.99 shipping. "Well, that's not very efficient hoarding," I chuckled as I closed my browser tab and opening another. "We can do better than that."

And we could. Not only was this card marked way down because of the sale, but I was able to add plenty more marked down for a flat shipping rate of $3.99.

I've been wanting this 1992 Upper Deck Minors card of Shawn Green for a while now. I love minor league baseball, and you're telling me there are entire sets dedicated to it? Yeah, I need to get on those. Here's the back, too, which I really like:

I also added the 1992 Topps Micro parallel of Shawn Green:

It's a spitting image of his 1992 Topps base card, except, well, it's micro. How small is micro?

Yeah. Tiny. Easy to lose, so it's staying in a penny sleeve for now.

The final nine cards of my order attacked another PC; Matt Mantei.

This 1996 Fleer Update card is the Tiffany parallel (yeah, I still need the base; that will be a recurring theme with the rest of this post).

Take this 2000 Fleer Tradition for example. I don't have the base, still, because this is the glossy version.

See? The back even tells you!

Now, this 2000 Metal is a base card...

...but I was also happy to add the Emerald parallel!

This 2000 Topps Limited Edition (it says it above the name on the front) actually gives me 3/4 of the "rainbow" from 2000 Topps; I'm only missing the "MVP Promotion" parallel.

Well, I sound silly now because this next Topps Limited Edition is a card that I also already have the base of:

Again, "Limited Edition" is hard to read but is found in tiny gold print just above the name.

In a similar vein...

...this Topps Chrome card from the same year is a very welcome addition to the collection, and yet another in a long line of cards that a scanner doesn't do justice to.

And we wrap up the haul with this 2004 Topps First Edition parallel...

...and this 2004 Topps Heritage base card:

All said and done, this bubble mailer from COMC cost me less than $12. Under $1 a card is a pretty good deal for me. I didn't pick up any set needs, but as I've said many times, I'd much rather trade my fellow collectors for those.

How'd you do on your Spring Cleaning order? Did you even place one? I'd like to hear about it in the comments! As always, thanks for reading and have a great day!